On Tuesday, the pope is expected to visit some of the most sensitive sites in the world: the Western Wall, holy to Jews; and the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
and an update there on the Hijacking Sheikh Incident:
The Vatican immediately condemned Sheik Tamimi’s remarks. “In a meeting dedicated to dialogue, this intervention was a direct negation of what a dialogue should be,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.
He said he hoped the episode would not “damage the mission” of the pope in “promoting peace” in the region.
“We hope also that interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be compromised by this incident,” Father Lombardi added.
During Pope John Paul II’s historic trip to Israel in 2000, an interfaith meeting ran aground when Sheik Tamimi and Yisrael Meir Lau, who was then the chief Ashkenazic rabbi of Israel, tangled over Israeli-Palestinian politics.
For Monday’s event, held at the Pontifical Institute of Notre Dame, organizers planned that only the pope would speak; other leaders on the podium included the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, and the chief rabbi of Haifa, Shear Yeshuv Cohen.
“It was discussed very clearly that neither the sheik nor the rabbi would give any kind of discourse,” said the Rev. David Neuhaus, one of the event’s organizers and the cleric responsible for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel. “Sheik Tamimi simply hijacked the microphone.”